Monday, 16 February 2015

A Fabulous Frugal Day in London

My sister has been staying with me for a few weeks, she lives in Ireland and beautiful though it is, it is wild in winter.

She comes ever year and it breaks the winter up nicely for both of us.  We usually try to spend a day or two in London. I live in Hertfordshire so it`s not to far to travel. 

We always take a packed lunch and aim only to buy the odd tea or coffee. We try to get as much from the day as possible on a limited budget.

This year we headed to the amazing Victoria and Albert Museum,(Free) and wandered through part of the costume exhibition. Seen the silver collections and marvelled at the marble statues.
Details of the Museum are here.

image from google

We sat in the beautiful cafe and drank tea under the massive circular lights, with sunshine pouring through the stained glass windows. The tiled walls date from the 1920`s, it is a beautiful place.

We had a day travel card which allowed travel on the tubes and buses this cost £18.80 and included our return travel from Hemel Hempstead.

After a look around the shops in Knightsbridge and eating our lunch in Hyde park we headed for Harvey Nichols. Not to buy anything other than a coffee, this is a frugal day remember. We wanted to enjoy  the view from their roof terrace cafe. 

Harvey Nichols roof garden cafe

It is quite impressive to sit looking over the rooftops of Knightsbridge for the price of a coffee. The staff were very friendly and chatted to my sister Maggie about the 1970`s when the store was Bibba`s.

Next stop the highlight of the day off to see Warhorse! With our £15 each tickets. We travelled on the bus to Covent Garden  passing Regent Street, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square on the way.

I thought when buying our tickets that a Monday evening would not be too busy in winter. I bought the cheapest tickets available from

Image result for war horse play
google image

image from google

It is by far the best play I have seen, it is truely amazing!
Warhorse is showing at:
 New Theatre
166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B5PW
Drury Lane London
166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B5PW

The theatre is not enormous like some London theatres so you can see really well even in the cheapest seats. I have seen Warhorse on the cinema link up to the National theatre and that was impressive.
Seeing it going on a few feet away from you though is something else. Do go to see it you will love it.

Total spends for the day
Travel £18.80 per person
Theatre tickets £15 per person
Coffee in Harvey Nichols £4 per person
Tea in V@A £3 per person.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

London`s Winter Wonderland

Just starting to get dark  - and a bonus shooting star to welcome us!

Hyde Park in London has the most amazing Winter Wonderland and entry is free.

All rides though have to be booked  in advance and these can work out expensive.

If you just want to wander around and sip a cup of mulled wine, or buy yourself some Christmas treats it is a fabulous place to visit.

The best time to go is just before it actually gets dark, then as you roam around all the lights come on, magical.

Scary rides! - Only for the daring!

There are plenty of scary rides for the brave, ice skating, a circus and a wonderful big wheel.  Santa can be seen riding by the wheel on his sleigh.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does feel very festive.

Wow that wheel is big!

It is extremely busy, we had a one year old with us and although she was being carried by her daddy, it was still difficult to push the buggy around.

When we were leaving the queue to come into the area was waiting two to three hours. That would be no fun in the freezing cold. So do go early. We only waited ten minutes to go in at 3.30 pm.

Hyde Park tube station had been closed for safety reasons due to the sheer number of people by 5 pm.

We walked to Green Park to get the tube back to Euston station.  This is a fairly long walk if you had young children or people who had walking difficulties. Marble Arch tube station would be a better choice.

A visit to London at Christmas time is never complete for me without a visit to Harrods. The Christmas window displays are magnificent as always.

How cute though is this photo of Isabella in Harrods toy department.


Harrods, Winter Wonderland, London, Toys.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Fabulous gifts from Toxicfox - Reviewed


Heart Matt Frame

This is another fabulous gift idea from the  toxicfox range. Here you choose ten words and they incorporate them into your chosen theme.  I chose Christmas, Happiness, puppies, Love, Joy, Smile, Chocolate, Memories, Friends and Family. 

I also chose the heart shape as I thought would be lovely for Christmas. There are different shapes to chose from. I am going to put mine on the wall near my Christmas tree.

Swarovski embellishments are scattered throughout the wording and these twinkle as the light catches them. It is a lovely gift and you can get them to celebrate a birth or birthday, or whatever you want. As you are the one choosing the words the gift is really special and something the lucky receiver will treasure. The large frame costs £39.99 and a personalized mug costs just £9.99.

The frame size is 14 inches square so it is a good size.

The frame is well made and has a sturdy bracket for hanging on the wall. 

The full range including frame colours can be viewed here:

There is even a cheeky10 per cent off for blog readers just use the code TFBlogon site. 

This is a video of Christmas gifts
and its well worth a look. 

How about this fantastic gift set which is just £14.99 it is a really fun one which anyone would love.

Check out the sleeping mask, it great ! There is body scrub, body lotion and bath soak and they are all a decent size. They smell good too. 

What I like though is the fun aspect you really can`t go wrong with this one.

Really fun present but I think I am going to keep this one for me!

This is a sponsored post for which I received the above gifts. the review opinions however are my own.

ClaireaBella Personalized Jute Bag Review

Large Personalized hand painted ClaireaBella jute bag.

I was lucky enough to be asked to review a beautiful Claireabella jute bag for

The eco-friendly jute bag is finished with beautiful bows, Swarovski embellishments and a silver charm with a generous sprinkling of glitter too! You can watch a video on the site of the gifted artists painting the bags. I found it fascinating  watching them apply the wonderful long eyelashes.

You choose the name on the bag, hair, eye and dress colour, even the skin tone, to make this fantastic large jute bag truly personal.

This is the back of the bag which has a lovely Clairebella signature.  It is deep enough to stuff  lots of extra Christmas pressies in if you want. I intend putting some nightwear and a bottle of wine in mine for Katrina. She will be delighted with the bag itself and amused that it looks like her. After Christmas it is a beautiful practical bag which will last a very long time. It is also quite an edgy unusual gift. The large bag costs £39.99 with different sizes to choose from. There is currently a £5 off code on the website.

Length of the bag is 16 inches /41mm and the height is 13inches/34mm so it is a very good sized bag. I also like the themed bags which can be for birthdays, weddings or the beach. You can even get Christmas themed bags.

The full ClaireBella  range can be found here:

Bows, swarovski embellishments, glitter and a pretty heart silver charm all make this a stunning present. Maybe I should have ordered my name on it and kept it for myself.

There are also other great Christmas gift ideas on the site with videos to help you choose from the very large range. Price start from under £20.

There is even a cheeky10 per cent off for blog readers just use the code TFBlog on site

Here is the very useful video for finding fabulous individual gifts from toxicfox

This is a sponsored post for which I received the above Claireabella bag. the review opinions are however my own.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Phantom of the Opera Reviewed

Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 28th anniversary on October 10th and has recently been given an update. As I had seen the show years ago I wanted to see what, if anything had changed. Andrew Lloyd-Webber's multi award-winning musical is a captivating love story with astounding music that gets into your soul. At least that is how I remembered it. I looked forward to a refresher in romance, tragedy and love and was not disappointed. 

I went on to His Majesty`s Theatre Theatre Haymarket for the matinee performance at 2.30 pm. I had paid £21 for my ticket with taking advantage of the offer of no booking fee. The seat was in the Grand Circle and had a slightly restricted view. I was able to move to a better seat within the Grand Circle during the interval as a third of these seats were empty. I am sure this wouldn`t be the case during an evening performance. The cast are astounding!

The stage setting are impressive and dramatic and I loved the Masquerade's ball. The costume colours are bright and jewel like and I like the cloaks that seem to float around half the stage. It is the chandelier that captures the drama of the opening scene as it shuffles and moves and rises high over the audience. I think this is a major improvement of the earlier performance as it brings the phantom immediately into the play. The chandelier has a further role during the play and the height of the stage is put to good use for ghostly frights. The stage sets are mind blowing how they can creates such effects on a stage is wonderful.

The candles parting like the biblical parting of the waves as the boat carrying Christine and the Phantom down the misty lake would take a lot of beating. The orchestra spilling out haunting music as fingers fly over violins is special and the mists circling the actors creates an entrancing setting. It is a beautiful musical that everyone should see. We all stood to cheer the actors when the `Music of the Night` stopped.

London theatre Tip

Matinee preformances on a week day are often not full so it is usually possible to move into a better seat.  


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Harry Potter Tour

Harry Potter World - Katrina is checking out the uniforms
The Three Tier Bus

Harry Potter Tour tickets cost £30 per person and the tour lasts a few hours. We spent three hours there which included wandering around ourselves. There is a free bus service from Watford train station to the studios and the buses leave every half hour.


This is a large precise model of the school which was used in most of the films

So much work has gone into making all the props it is quite amazing.

This looks like ice but is infact plastic, everything is so realistic and the street look like you could open the doors and enter a shop or house. There is nothing behind the doors though, all the interiors are in the studio.

looks so realistic

It is a great day out and you can even buy `butter beer` to drink and have your photo taken on a flying broomstick.

Wands, spell books and cloaks, scarfs and scary faces, and Harry line the walls and look great. It is very expensive in the shop though were a wand costs £25.

Do get some tickets if you haven`t been you will love it and so will the kids. Tickets would make a great Christmas pressie.